Nessim Gaon

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Nessim Gaon
Nessim David Gaon

(1922-02-22)22 February 1922
Died10 May 2022 (aged 100)
OccupationFinancier, commodities trader
Renée Tamman
(before 2015)

Nessim David Gaon (Arabic: نسيم جاعون,[citation needed]; 22 February 1922 – 10 May 2022)[1] was a Sudan-born Swiss financier who created the Noga SA. Outside the business world, he was very prominent in Jewish affairs, acting as president of the World Sephardi Federation since 1971. He was also a vice president of the World Jewish Congress and chairman of the board of governors of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.[2]


Gaon's career in trade began as a trader of burlap bags and crocodile and snake skins in Anglo-Egyptian Sudan before graduating to peanut and edible oils trade. When the British relinquished power in Sudan, subsequent increase in nationalism precipitated the exile of many members of the Jewish community in Khartoum. Gaon emigrated to Switzerland in 1957 and became a Swiss citizen six years later. He settled in Geneva and developed a commodities trading firm with success in the peanut trade. He also dabbled into property and tourism building the Noga Hilton Hotel in Geneva.[3] Nigerian government officials visiting Geneva liked the hotel and invited Hilton and Gaon to establish a similar hotel in the newly created capital city of Abuja with construction expedited to host meeting of Heads of States of ECOWAS.[4]

Gaon through his firms Noga Commodities Overseas and Afro Continental was involved in rice, edible oils cement trade in Nigeria during the country's oil boom years in the 1970s. In 1979, he was importing 120,000 tonnes of rice to Nigeria. However, a turn in Nigeria's economy in 1984 caused non payment of government's promissory notes tied to his firm's assets affected his commodity business.[3]

Beginning in 1991, Gaon developed a barter trading interest with the Soviet Union that ended in acrimony, thereafter Gaon sought legal options to claim unpaid debts through confiscation of Russian assets abroad.[5]

Personal life

Gaon was born in Sudan to Turkish Jews who had been transplanted to Spain and later moved to Egypt and the Sudan. He was married to Renée Tamman (1925–2013), with whom he had three children: Marguerite Herzog, David N. Gaon, and Danielle Coën-Gaon.[6]

Jewish life

Aside from all the posts Gaon held in world Jewish organizations, he was also a founder, builder and member of Hekhal Haness Synagogue in Geneva.[7]


  1. ^ ניסים גאון, מחשובי המנהיגים היהודיים, הלך אמש לעולמו בג׳נבה (in Hebrew)
  2. ^ Schneiderman, Harry; Carmin, Itzhak J., eds. (1987). Who's who in World Jewry. Who's Who in World Jewry. p. 167.
  3. ^ a b Mufson, Steve (July 19, 1984). "Nigerian Reverses Stun Commodities Trader". The Wall Street Journal.
  4. ^ Heath, Chip; Starr, Karla (2018). "The Hilton Effect: As Hilton Nears 100-Year Milestone, New Research Uncovers World-Changing Impact" (PDF). Hilton Press Center. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  5. ^ Myers, Steven Lee (2005-11-17). "Swiss Businessman Tries to Seize Art in a Dispute With Russia". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  6. ^ El filántropo judío Nessim Gaon murió a los 100 años
  7. ^ Bareket, Amiram (2007-05-25). חשד: בית הכנסת "היכל הנס" בז'נווה הוצת [Suspicion: Synagogue 'Miracle Hall' in Geneva was set on fire]. Haaretz (in Hebrew). Retrieved 18 August 2014.


  • Malka, Eli (April 1997). Jacob's Children in the Land of the Mahdi: Jews of the Sudan. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 978-0-8156-8122-9.

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